Warmachine Hordes MK3 Transition

warmachine hordes bannerThe Warmachine/Hordes community at Gamer’s Gauntlet has evolved tremendously over the last five years, and with the upcoming launch of MkIII we making some improvements to how our community can get into the game or get the latest models.

First, all existing in-store figures are now 50% MSRP. This is your chance to nab those last few pieces for your perfect army. We will also be slimming down the inventory after the launch of MkIII to ensure we always have battle boxes for new players and the latest releases for the seasoned warcasters and warlocks.

After launch, we are shifting our long-standing 20% discount on all in-stock models to all special orders that are paid in full at the time of order.
We’re very excited for the launch of MkIII, and we hope our improvements will help the Warmachine and Hordes community continue to grow!

And now a letter from your Press Ganger

As you may have noticed, Privateer Press announced that new editions of Warmachine and Hordes will be coming out later this year. Needless to say, this means that there will be changes. I’m sure that means players will have questions on their minds:
• What’s changing?
• Are my models going away?
• Are my models going to be better in the new edition?
• Are they going to be worse?
• Is my faction’s playstyle going to change?
My goal here is to answer these questions as best I can. I can’t 100% say I have all the answers; even as a Press Ganger, Privateer doesn’t tell me everything. That said, I played during the last edition change (2009-2010), and I can attest greatly to how those questions might play out.

As far as what’s changing, I don’t expect as drastic changes as there were in the shift from Mark I (the original game) to Mark II (the current edition). We know so far that the points system has doubled, more or less. Warjack/warbeast points have also been increased significantly (according to Privateer, averaging 25-30, or “enough to support a full battlegroup”). Warjacks with cortexes gain Power Up, which allocates them a focus if they’re in their warcaster’s control range (yes, it’s called “range” now), and warlocks gain Spirit Bond, which gives them a spare fury point for each non-lesser warbeast destroyed or removed from play in its battlegroup. Both of these seem to help offset each side’s greatest mechanical weaknesses; there was never enough focus on the table to make running many warjacks efficient, and a lack of endgame fury put Hordes at a late-game disadvantage. Time will tell if these will work; this is the first change to the focus/fury mechanic… pretty much ever, so times are exciting.

The most significant change, however, is the addition of pre-measurement. Originally, you could only measure your warcaster’s control area unless you were actively declaring a movement, attack, or other action that had a range. This meant that unless you have a really good eye for trigonometry, there was a lot of guesswork for checking ranges. No more. This is another “time-will-tell” rule, but from what I’ve heard from people who do play games where it’s allowed, it makes for a much more streamlined experience overall.

The changes, of course, will also affect models. For starters, nothing is going away. Your purchases won’t be invalidated. Your basic Ironclads and Troll Axers will still be usable moving forward. There will, however, be some rebalancing of abilities and point costs to account for rules changes and the like. Privateer claims every model/unit was examined and rebalanced over three years of playtesting. Based on the transition from Mk1 to Mk2, I have pretty high hopes for their success.

The two questions this brings up, of course, are two sides of the same coin. “I like using Model X because it is very powerful. Will it still be good?” “I really like the concept behind Model Y, but it’s currently a bad idea to bring it to the table. Will it be better in Mk3?” The answer to both is maybe. Nobody’s perfect, but from some of the changes I’ve seen moving forward, a lot of more overpowered stuff got toned down a bit, while a few underpowered things have gotten a bit of a buff.

Most of these are similar to changes we saw from Mk1 to Mk2. Models got rebalanced and recosted. A few things fell by the wayside or were overcompensated for (Skorne being the biggest offender here), but in general everything felt nice and fresh. What are some of the changes from Mk1 that caused a much better experience?
• Streamlining of rules. There used to be multiple rules and abilities that did the same thing, such as All-Terrain and Pathfinder. They were functionally the same, but All-Terrain was on Warjacks and Warbeasts and Pathfinder was on warriors.
• Refined Deployment. Advance Deploy used to be an extra 12”, it was trimmed to 6.
• Redefined points system. Mk1’s average game was 500-750 points, and you had to pay for warcasters and warlocks. Warjack/Warbeast points did not exist back then. The system was found to be too granular, and you had no incentive to take warjacks. This was fixed… a bit.
• Warjacks got slightly better. They all got +1 MAT and RAT across the board, to become more in line with warbeasts. The focus mechanic, however, did not change.

All of these seem to be happening in Mk3, besides deployment. Rules are getting simpler. Sloppy, unfun, and/or complicated rules are being refined or removed entirely. Points were made slightly more granular, to accommodate for models thought to be “half a point” too expensive or cheap. Warjack/warbeast points were expanded to support a battlegroup, and mechanics made so that warjacks shouldn’t be a liability. We’ll be playing with the big stompy robots we’ve wanted to use the whole time.

Warmachine and Hordes are evolving. They’ll be brand new games. Sure, there’s a lot that’s going to be familiar. The core rules, stats, and mechanics aren’t changing. That said, everything’s going to be different. Spells and abilities are changing and being refined. Feats are being tweaked. Everything’s fresh and new, despite still having the same core. That’s what’s exciting me about this transition.

Dan Hojnacki
Press Ganger
e-mail: spinballwizard.mtg AT gmail.com